Nov 26, 2013

Ommegang Take the Black Stout

When the news of Brewery Ommegang’s involvement in a series of beers for HBO’s break-out hit Game of Thrones first hit my ears just about this time last year, my head dropped in disappointment. If there’s one brewery along the East Coast that I am absolutely smitten with it’s this Cooperstown, NY company. Their purchase by Duvel Moortgat had already been a couple of years underway by the time I was first introduced to the company’s stellar ales so that hadn’t really affected me at all. This particular news, however, had words like “sell out” and more colorful language flowing from my mouth.

In the end, the HBO-backed line of beers had no impact on me or any of the company’s beers (or their availability) with the exception of this line of beers themselves. This particular bottle of Take The Black Stout was all by its lonesome on the shelves on a visit a couple of months ago. I hadn’t seen any of the limited run of beers at any time prior to or any time after purchasing this bottle back in September.

I’ve had two stouts from Ommegang — their impressive Art of Darkness and not as impressive Chocolate Indulgence. Based on my experience with the brewery, it’s their pale ales that really shine. The 7% ABV Take the Black Stout, as expected, isn’t as good as their pales, but it’s a decent beer, though, falling right in the middle between the other two stout-ish brews.


A big, rocky stack of mocha foam stands defiantly atop the opaque black brew.

Ommegang Take the Black Stout photo


The beer has a darn good nose with chocolate, Belgian yeast, earthy malt, a hint of vanilla and a touch of licorice.


Robust, roasty malt dominates Take the Black Stout as hints of cocoa, licorice and coffee linger in the background. The yeast brings about dark fruit notes that fade gently in the moderately hopped middle that carries a decent amount of bitterness through to the dry finish. The carbonation is a bit active for the style and the beer’s not quite as full-bodied as I had expected it to be.


Take the Black Stout is a tasty brew. It’s got a good robust character with plenty of earthiness that persists from the first sip to the last which I fully enjoyed. The beer may have been crafted as tribute to Game of Thrones, but this stout won’t be claiming any crowns just yet. It feels middle-of-the-road which, in all honesty, is perfectly fine by me as long as they keep their focus on the beers that make them a great company. That said, if I run across another bottle, I’ll gladly give it a another chance, but it seems as though finding one is going to continue to be difficult.

Rating: 3.75/5

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